National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

Psychiatry Under the Influence:

Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform

Robert Whitaker


In a democratic society, we expect that institutions that serve a public interest will adhere to ethical and legal standards. However, "economies of influence" may corrupt an institution and lead it astray, which has proven to be the case with American psychiatry during the past 35 years. Under the influence of pharmaceutical money and guild interests, the American Psychiatric Association has told to the American public a narrative that promoted those economic interests and yet was belied by its own science. As a result of this institutional corruption, American society has organized itself around a "false narrative," which has caused great social injury. Any prescription for reform will require finding ways to neutralize those corrupting influences.

Goals and Objectives:

1. Understand the economies of influence that have led the American Psychiatric Association and academic psychiatry to tell a "false narrative" to the public about the nature of psychiatric disorders and the safety and efficacy of its drug treatments.

2. Understand the elements of that false narrative: the story that psychiatric drugs fixed chemical imbalances in the brain; the published reports that exaggerated the safety and efficacy of newly approved psychiatric medications; and the hiding of long-term results that told of medications that were worsening long-term outcomes.

3. Understand the social injury that has resulted from this institutional corruption.

Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury and Prescriptions for Reform (PDF)

Link to brief presenter bio:

Robert Whitaker